When I worked at St. Monica’s parish and schools in California in the 1980s I knew plenty of students who attended St. Monica’s for all thirteen years—from kindergarten to their senior year of high school. St. Monica’s, I believe, is one of only three parishes in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles that sponsor both a grade school and a high school.

Graduation from St. Monica’s may have been more heart-wrenching than some other high school ceremonies just based on all of the time spent in one place. But I used to believe that the occasion was also a little more emotional because of the true family atmosphere that a core group of teens who spent all their years at St. Monica’s had developed and then shared with others who joined them in high school.

A recent news article about the Carmel Catholic High School graduation in Illinois illustrates some of the same feelings spending time in a school that is also a faith community are bound to elicit from not only graduate, but parents, siblings—and teachers.

As the time of graduation is upon us, adapt and pray the following words with your students:

Come, Holy Spirit.

Be with me today in my studies.

Improve my work habits.

Help me to learn to relax when taking exams

so that I am able to test to my potential.

When I apply to colleges, allow me the chance to show

the “real me” to those who make decisions.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Allow me to appreciate my friends.

Give me a moment to see their goodness.

Help me to be always faithful to these dear people

I have grown up with since childhood.

Always give me the opportunity to stay close to my friends,

whether we are physically near or far apart.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Continue to inspire my teachers, counselors, and coaches

who have inspired me.

In these last days of high school,

give me the courage to truly follow their lessons.

Allow me the inspiration to thank them

for their gifts with sincere appreciation.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Bless my parents and family.

They are everything to me.

They have modeled for me your life and love.

Keep them healthy and happy for many more years.

Come, Holy Spirit.

Help me find my way to my loving Father through his Son.

Share with me a sign of my calling.

Give me good ears to listen to your voice.

Give me the strength to follow your lead.


(Reprinted from Marriage and Holy Orders: Your Call to Love and Serve, Ave Maria Press, 2007).